Evaluation and management of a "salina" strawberry clover cover crop in citrus: first year preliminary results
AffiliationDepartment of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Dept. Plant Sciences, U. of A., Yuma Mesa Agricultural Center, Yuma, Arizona
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AbstractTwo orchard floor management strategies were evaluated beginning in the fall of 1997 in a 'Valencia' orange (Citrus sinensis) grove at the University of Arizona Citrus Agricultural Center (CAC) in Waddell, Arizona. The clean culture or bare ground treatment produced more yield than the ‘Salina’ strawberry clover treatment when harvested on March 10, 1999 and the tree canopy volume of the clean culture treatment was also greater than that of the clover treatment. Yield efficiency (lbs of fruit per cubic meter of canopy) was similar in the two treatments. The clean culture treatment produced more large size fruit (size 88 and larger) and less small size fruit (size 113 and smaller) than the strawberry clover treatment. Although the yield efficiency parameter suggests that it may be possible to produce as much fruit in the clover treatment as the clean culture treatment, the total yield and fruit size distribution of the clover treatment compared to the clean culture treatment were characteristic of the negative effects of competition from vegetation on the orchard floor found in other studies. Based on previous studies, competition for water was the most likely cause of the negative competitive effect. Installation of additional tensiometers to measure soil moisture at greater depths and leaf water potential measurements to assess the degree of water stress in both treatments prior to irrigation will hopefully allow further improvement in irrigation scheduling to eliminate the negative affect of having vegetation on the orchard floor in the clover plots.